Eating Disorders

Hope, Courage and Determination: A Trinity of Light

Being positive is when dusk and dawn come together to create hope, courage and determination: a trinity of light that blazes through the night.

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Staying positive in recovery emerges in the darkest moment, when we have lost everything and everybody. The moment when we feel helpless just trying to listen to our own voice; a voice inside our soul, whose sweet ringing is drowned by the eating disorder’s cacophony.

Positivity does not come easily. We must be warriors who refuse to accept our imperfections docilely, but use them as tools to help push through the boundaries of our limitations.

Positive recovery comes through persistent training and determination.  For me, it is analogous to learning the violin. We start off with beautifully intended thoughts. Our minds envision streams of blue and yellow lights dancing in the open fields, bearing beauty and grace. In reality, however, the notes resemble cats dying on a street. They screech and howl, out of rhythm and out of tune. We give up, put  the instrument away and promise to try again tomorrow.

Tomorrow comes, filled with high expectations, which are quickly thwarted when there is no sign of improvement. We vow it is easier to take the path of least resistance – to yield to the hard-wired thoughts we can control and give up on recovery. But our soul’s voice tells us to not surrender to the eating disorder.  Not anymore, not any longer. We have wasted too much time clad in victim’s attire and we are both stronger and more capable than we believe.

So we try again, this time from a different perspective. This time we listen to the distorted sounds, noting what happened when our thoughts become disarrayed. We question our actions and habits, learning to understand  the reasons behind our failings. We open our eyes to the interconnectedness of our past and future, which are filled with both blithe and bitter thoughts. Unconsciously, the neurons in our brain are forging new pathways, changing the way we think. Our minds adapt quickly to these new thoughts and by consciously choosing to trust our heart, we actively stay committed to recovery.

It is incredibly difficult to be continuously positive in our journey, especially when we are bombarded by unexpected changes. Each morning is a new challenge. We do not know how our minds and bodies are going to feel when we awake. Will we be ready to fight another day for another day of life? Or will we let the anxiety creep in? Will we make sure to follow our morning breakfast plan instead of falling into familiar habits?

With our changing bodies and weight gain, it is extremely frustrating to think of our bodies as instruments cradling our heart and soul, and even to consider our duty to nurture it, care for it, and protect it from all harm. It is crucial to be gentle with ourselves, especially in times of immense stress when it is easy to slip into the familiar false comfort of the old eating disorder thoughts. But the longer we tune into the disordered habits, the harder it is to fully recover.

Although slipping up is necessary, as it allows us to appreciate our growth, it is imperative to engage in behaviours we are uncomfortable with. Eating the foods we were once feared is our conscious way of fighting. Buying new clothes in a bigger size is braver than anyone can imagine.

Staying positive reminds me of all I am capable of doing in this world. It reminds me how life is beautiful with its sorrows and its triumphs. It reminds me how overcoming challenges gives me the most enjoyment. When I surround myself with people whom I care about and who love me unconditionally, I remember how blessed I am.  As a community, we understand each other, making it easier to remain in hope. As recovery warriors, we grow most when we are fighting the darkest battles.

Being positive is when dusk and dawn come together to create hope, courage and determination: a trinity of light that blazes through the night.


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